Note: ffyc is the Welsh word for f*ck. So, amazingly, not a typo!
Alice was going to be bloody pissed when she found who he was. Theodore was having too much fun with her, though, to burst the bubble yet.
“More?” He held the wine bottle over her half-empty glass.
“Always assume a woman with frozen feet in a Wales rugby jersey five times her size wants more.”
He poured wine into her glass. “I’ll remember that next time I carry a woman through the snow and have to lend her my favorite item of clothing.”
She snuggled her glass to her chest. “I can’t believe you have a working fireplace.”
The flames were nice–especially as their light danced over her face.
She was attractive. Dark hair and warm hazel eyes, and a mischievous little smile. He tried hard not to stare.
“I can’t believe people don’t demand it, though given I paid nearly $5 for a piece of wood, I can see why not.”
She nodded. “Yeah, DC prices are ridiculous.”
They were. But they were that high in the U.K., too, only mostly for different items. He couldn’t get over what people had to pay for in this country–from copyright protection to healthcare. Paying as much as he had for firewood had merely been an additional insult.
Her gaze flicked around his flat, a fully-furnished, also-over-priced piece of real estate to lay his head for the next month. Her lips pursed. “Why are you here anyway?”
“Ah, the famous question everyone here seems to be super excited about.” He’d been here for two weeks and at least five times a day people asked him “what he did.” It was downright crackers that was all anyone truly seemed to care about here.
At first, he’d tell them “management.” Their mouths would open a little and they’d nod with a long “ah” coming out of their mouth.
Then, when that got boring, he’d changed it up a bit. So far, he’d declared himself a professional mourner, Bingo caller, iceberg mover, and, his all time favorite, a peacock wrangler. None of it was untrue if you thought about it. He often had to deal with tears, lucky draws, icy glares, and preening egos.
With Alice, he wanted to give her the reality. “I tell the truth.”
She half laughed. “Okay. I get it. People talk about work too much here anyway.”
She drained her wine glass, held it out for more. He obliged. “I’m going to regret this in the morning. Especially when I have to figure out how to get home, get changed and get to work on time.” Her hands flew to her lips.
“Oops. Talked about work again.”
“Are you between boyfriends?” He couldn’t get over this woman wasn’t snatched up already.
Her chin jutted back in surprise. “Between?”
“If you had one, he’d have come get you tonight.”
An adorable snort came out of her nose, and she waved her hand. “In DC? I could be married and he’d have called me a cab.”
Oh, cynical. “So, no man in your life. Lucky me. Though it’s been ‘Kiss a Ginger” day for over an hour and I’m not getting very lucky here.”
Her face fell, tension gripping her shoulders.
“Just teasing. Not trying to shag you, love. Won’t even give you the pleasure of my kiss. Not proper and all that.”
“That is so English.”
“Okay then.” He slapped his lap. “Jump aboard.”
“You’d faint from pure pleasure.” She breathed into her wine glass.
He winked. “I give you permission to keep going if I do. Full consent.”
A fit of giggles caught her. “I wouldn’t want you to feel used. Next morning and all that.”
“You are a good woman, Alice. I appreciate you protecting my virtue.”
She pushed at his shoulder. “You’re funny. Get ready to be jumped at every turn. Most guys in this town have no sense of humor.”
“So, you’re having fun?”
She cocked her head. “I am. You?”
“Even if we’re wasting a perfectly valid and important holiday by being so chaste, yes, I am.”
Her mouth twisted. “Where’s your girlfriend?”
“Back in Wales.” He checked his watch. “She should be catching her flight to Ibiza for her honeymoon any minute.” The words burned in his throat.
“Married my best mate.” He took a slug of wine himself. Ex-friend, more like it. And for the life of him he didn’t know why he told her that.
She let her gaze drift to the fire. “Well that’s not very best-matey, if you ask me.” Her words were a little loose, like the wine’s effects had taken hold.
“Still got them a gift. Made sure it got into their suitcases before they left.”
She sliced her eyes his way. “Tell me it was something really deserving.” She leaned over as if her balance also was being compromised.
“A few placed stinkbugs in her trousseau.” He shrugged. “Nothing major.” Though incredibly satisfying.
She gasped though her grin from ear to ear showed him she was hardly upset about it. “So much restraint, Theodore.” She mock punched him in the arm. “I’d have gone for something much bigger. Sheep dung at least. In fact, you know what?”
She dramatically set down her glass, wine splashing a little on her hand. She licked it off and then leaned over to him. “The fact we both are victims of romantic crimes, we must celebrate today’s holiday after all.” Definitely slurring now.
She then launched herself at him and he found not only his arms full of her, but her mouth firmly on his.
In general, he found the act of kissing to be pleasant enough. But when she slipped him a little tongue, slow, soft and hot, his standards instantly raised. The woman knew what she was doing.
His arms mashed her closer to him. Any thought about how what they were doing wasn’t right had no chance of lasting.
Her weight shifted and—ffyc him—she straddled his lap.
She came up for air, brushed her hair off her face. “I don’t care if you did make up Kiss a Ginger Day –”
“I didn’t.” It was real, though he’d been teasing about her fulfilling on it. Thank God she didn’t view it that way.
“Oh, good.” She kissed him again, and if anyone asked him, he’d say moving to America could be on the table. She was that good.
She broke the lip hold again. “I’m sleepy.” Her lips were at half mast. She’d had too much to drink. Time to stop. While a certain part of his anatomy was ready to go forth and conquer, his morals—the spoilsports—took hold.
She leaned forward, put forehead to forehead. “Hey, I got an idea.”
“Me, too. Time to sleep, love.” He pushed her off his lap and she dramatically slumped to her side of the couch.
“Awww, come on. Revenge is ours.” She pounded the seat cushion, but let her head fall back.
He rose and pulled a blanket off the rocking chair in the corner. When he turned around, she’d curled into herself against the back of the couch, eyes closed. “I’m very, very good at revenge,” she said softly.
He couldn’t help but laugh. After securing the blanket around her form, he turned off the lights. Time for bed himself.
Voicing what happened between him and Beatrice had taken its usual toll. His entire body was weighted down, like his bones were made of lead.
Perhaps he’d told Alice because she was easy to talk to. That would only make the coming morning harder. She may never speak to him again after tomorrow. That’s when she would be introduced to him at their Friday staff meeting as the new management consultant coming in to “reduce all redundancies” in her company.
And her name was on the maybe list.
He could only hope she kidded about her revenge skills.